By Ms. Sima Bahous, Executive Director, UN Women
According to our research, we are falling 300 years behind on achieving sustainable development’s fifth goal. Equal participation and the complete involvement and leadership of women and girls in all their diversities are essential to our strong determination and rapid actions towards saving our planet. We can’t attain climate justice, until we achieve gender equality first. And in order to accomplish all our grand goals, which include 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Agreed Conclusions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the Paris Agreement and subsequent COP outcomes, and the collective commitments of Generation Equality, we must first fulfill the vital missing link, gender equality.
COP27 presents us with the opportunity to acknowledge women and girls and magnify their role in presenting modern solutions for climate change issues, in addition to comprehending the reasons behind limiting their participating and putting an end to it.
We must also come up with reliable policies and effective plans for dealing with impacts of the climate change, including immediate and long-term effects of the crisis.
The climate crisis, not unlike any other disaster, poses a more substantial threat to women, as they have to face its consequences and endure its instant and future risks on their livelihood, that is why we need to prioritize women when we take climate actions.
Significant actions are taken by women, in terms of adapting and mitigating the effects of the climate crisis, as they take the lead on environmental and climate justice movements and present their fresh and innovative outlook on ways to promote sustainability and agroecology, which is crucial in protecting local ecosystems. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop the devastating injustice and imbalance in the decision-making process. These injustices can be seen across all the sectors in charge of adapting to the climate change, and that includes, agriculture, infrastructure, energy, water and education above all.
Executive director of UN Women displays the UN climate conference’s obligations needed to achieve gender equality. She has three particular demands for the COP27, regarding gender equality.
My first ask to COP27 is to take special measures, including quotas, to increase women’s and girls’ full, equal, and meaningful participation and leadership at all levels of decision-making, and to address inequalities including in their access to and control of productive resources such as finance, technology, and land, especially women from poor and marginalized communities.
We must also address all factors constraining women and robbing their opportunity to voice their concerns and innovative solutions, participate in the process of decision making and have equal opportunities as men, regarding the nearly 24 million new jobs in green sectors worldwide.
Furthermore, we must use the COP27 as a chance to highlight and put a stop to the neglected dangers women face on daily basis, including domestic abuse, trafficking, child marriage, silencing and attacking those who attempt to achieve human rights and stealing women’s rights to have proper education, jobs needed to be effective members in our society and be able to contribute to climate action.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, women were forced to do over 500 billion of unpaid extra hours, and many of them where let go and never returned to their positions. The climate emergency is making women’s situation and livelihood even worse and that needs immediate attention.
My second ask to COP is therefore to support a just transition for women through an alternative development model.
This model aims to increase gender-responsive public services, women’s social protection, health and care systems, and provide the means to prevent violence against women and girls in general within climate actions, in addition to supporting them and guaranteeing them a safe living environment and decent jobs.
UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) stated the need to consider gender perspective within funding, implementing, monitoring and evaluating all national climate actions. They went on advising member states and stakeholders to take immediate action in expanding gender-responsive funding, with the help of the UNFCCC’s gender action plan.
Barely 0.01% of global official development assistance advocate women rights in parallel with the climate change, and that needs to change soon. Intentional global investments are required to support women’s organization and encourage their leadership actions in response to the climate crisis.
My third ask is that COP’s decisions on global investments, especially for women and girls in developing countries, intentionally and directly amplify and foster women’s skills, resilience and knowledge, ensure that women’s organizations, including young women, are supported and protected, and include specific investment to remove critical barriers for women and put protections in place.
Gender equality is our best weapon in the battle against climate change, and it’s what we must achieve in order to have global solidarity and better chance of survival.